Last week, an anti-hunting group issued a release that sought only to hide the enormous contributions Safari Club International (SCI) has made to the conservation of global wildlife. The SCI Convention, featuring a keynote address by acclaimed author and accomplished conservationist Donald Trump Jr., will be proudly held between February 5th and 8th in Reno, Nevada this year. The convention is first and foremost a summit for hunters, outfitters, and government officials from wildlife range states about how to improve sustainable use conservation across the entire globe.
The anti-hunting activists claim that the hunting industry’s "conservation claim is shattered" by promotion of big game hunts at the annual convention, but overwhelming evidence from multiple independent scientific entities such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) proves this quote to be the opposite of reality. The IUCN has repeatedly published articles that prove illegal poaching and habitat loss are the largest threats to wildlife and that so-called trophy hunting provides direct benefits for the species hunted, conserves a vast amount of land for wildlife habitat, funds anti-poaching efforts, encourages local community participation in conservation, supports livelihoods, and significantly contributes to rural economies. Because of these benefits, evidence demonstrates that many species are doing the very best in the countries where they are hunted.
Additionally, while individual hunts ensure wildlife is valued by the population of host nations, the Safari Club International Foundation itself has spent $70 million alone on conservation, wildlife education, and humanitarian services.
SCI CEO W. Laird Hamberlin responded to the Humane Society’s statement saying, "it is the height of hypocrisy to call hunting a ‘colonial pastime’ while SCI actively convenes African nations, for example, for a regular and recurring summit on the best methods for wildlife management. Meanwhile, people like Kitty Block of HSUS seems to think these host countries would be better off following marching orders of the Humane Society, an organization that claims they know what is best for Africa despite shunning conversations with the leaders of African countries."
The Humane Society continually chooses to scold democratically elected leaders from Africa like Botswanan President Masisi for reopening his country to foreign hunters, despite the clear evidence that during the five years when hunting was banned in Botswana, the country saw unprecedented rates of human-wildlife conflict and increased poaching. Across Botswana, numerous communities were facing new hardships stemming from a lack of resources that hunting once brought them. As SCI Foundation President Warren Sackman recently said, "African range states and their local communities are the best managers of their own wildlife."